Tour Historic Blair Castle
Blair Castle lies at the southern end of the Drumochter Pass and, together with Ruthven Castle at the north end, was built by the Comyn family to secure their power right across the Scottish Highlands.
Blair Castle was first built around Comyn's Tower in 1269, and by the time of Mary Queen of Scots' visit in 1564, the castle had been extended southwards to include the Great Hall. Cromwell's troops captured the castle during the Civil War, and in 1703 Queen Anne rewarded the family's loyalty to the crown by creating the second Marquess as Duke of Atholl. During the Jacobite rebellion in the eighteenth century, the castle was held by the Hanoverians when it became the last private castle beseiged in Britain, and General Lord George Murray, who had forfeited his inheritance by supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie, laid siege to what had been his own house.
The castle is the traditional home of the Dukes of Atholl. The present Duke, who lives in South Africa, remains head of the famous Atholl Highlanders, Britain's only private army. The castle itself stands in impressive scenery and was restyled as a Georgian mansion in the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1868 the architect Sir David Bryce carried out further work when he remodelled the castle to reinstate its earlier appearance.
General Wade's fine five-arched bridge, built 1733, still spans River Tay, overlooked by kilted figure on monument commemorating Black Watch regiment. Dewar family's distillery open to visitors.
The Kirkton or village of Balquhidder is situated in the parish of Balquhidder at the east end of Loch Voil, but the name is also applied to the Braes of Balquhidder, an area, celebrated in a song by Robert Tannahill, that extends along the lochside. Once the home of the Clan MacLaren, it came to be more closely associated with the MacGregors, especially Rob Roy MacGregor (1671-1734) who lies buried adjacent to the roofless old church of the parish along with his wife and two sons.
Rising 3984ft over Loch Tay's north shore, entire mountain is national nature reserve. Visitor centre, 1400ft up southern slope, is start of 1'/2 hour nature trail.
Birks of Aberfeldy
Network of burns cascades over stepped rocks, below Falls of Moness. Footpaths weave their way through birch-clad sides of ravine, and nature trail leads to footbridge above falls.
Pepper-pot turrets and castellated towers adorn granite buildings of village, which stands at meeting point of several highland glens. Mill dating from 17th century is still in operation on River Carry --its products can be sampled.
Turreted baronial castle, home to Dukes of Atholl. Restored to Gothic style in 1868. Rooms filled with fine furniture, paintings, tapestries, arms, clothes telling story of Highland life from 1500.
Braes of Balquhidder
Steep glens and windswept hills, framed by mountain peaks to north-west. Outlaw Rob Roy lived his last years here; he and other MacGregors are buried in Balquhidder churchyard, his grave marked by slate slab carved with kilted figure.
Castle built 1488 with later additions, seat of Clan Menzies chief. Two towers and central block with four storeys. Copper cast of Bonnie Prince Charlie's death mask on display. Castle also houses Clan Menzies museum.
Clan Donnachaidh Museum
Purpose-built museum housing memorabilia of Donnachaidh clan, which included several families. Relics from Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1745, tartans, glass, silver and books. Starting point for walk to Falls of Bruar.
Resort town at meeting point of two glens. Museum of Scottish Tartans includes reconstructed weaver's cottage and plant dyes. Path up Glen Lednock leads to Deil's Caldron, where river disappears through hole in rock.
Marked trail, north of Pitlochry, leads through woods to 1,300ft summit of beacon hill. Views from summit across water meadows to Schiehallion's peak.
Visitor's centre has two walk-around craft factories, allowing visitors to see pottery and paper-weights being made. Octagonal mercat cross stands within iron railing. Old stocks stand near the 17th-century tolbooth.
Drummond Castle Gardens
Originally laid out in 1600s the gardens were Italianised about 1830. Terraces with geometrically shaped beds, lawns and hedges slope away from medieval keep. John Mylne, Charles I's master mason, created obelisk sundial furnished with 50 different faces.
Glengoulandie Deer Park
Red deer, Highland cattle and rare breeds of sheep roam free at foot of Schiehallion peak.
Castle ruins and standing stones dot steep slopes of Scotland's longest glen. MacGregor's Leap marks spot where ancestor of Rob Roy bounded to safety across ravine. Fortingall is legendary birthplace of Pontius Pilate.
Whisky distillery, established 1775, where traditional methods are on display. Samplings of whiskies up to 21 years old are offered. Restaurant and audio-visual theatre.
Scotland's first public library still exists. Founded 1691, library now housed in 18th-century building. Rare Scottish books displayed, including pocket Bible taken into battle by Montrose, general who won brilliant victories in Scotland for Charles I. Church nearby dates from 1508.
Village on eastern shore of Loch Tay, noted for salmon fishing. Bridge over River Tay here was built by Earl of Breadalbane in 1774. In 1787, Robert Burns wrote verse about view from bridge, copy in Kenmore Hotel.
Fishing resort on Loch Tay with walking, climbing, skiing and motoring in surrounding mountains. Finlarig Castle, former Campbell seat built 1609, has beheading pit where crude guillotine, The Maiden, was used. Falls of Dochart rush through town.
Winter sports resort in Spey Valley. Highland Folk Museum complex has Hebridean black-house, water-powered clack mill, and 18th-century shooting lodge. Inside are objects of everyday Highland life. Free tours of nearby china factory.
Village at eastern end of Loch Rannoch. Car parks around loch pro-vide views of 3554ft Schiehallion peak. Stone cottages, forge and shops.
Reservoir created when Tummel was dammed in 1950; breeding site for greylag geese. At southern end, salmon leap up fish pass in season. Forest trails along east and north shores of loch.
Tummel flows into Tay here in narrow gorge of historic military importance. In local churchyard are three mortsafes (metal frames padlocked round coffins to deter body snatchers).
Short detour off Glen Lednock. Circular Walk leads to Dunmore Hill, 840ft, with obelisk in memory of Lord Melville. Fine views of Highlands.
In churchyard opposite the Moulin Inn are remains of the Old Judging Tree, under which local justice was dispensed until 1746. Churchyard has two medieval warrior graves. An Caisteal Dubh (black castle) of 1320, now in ruins, was inhabited until 1500 when plague wiped out garrison.
Village has 15th-century church with 12th-century tower. Local folk museum housed in c. 1760 Georgian cottage.
Centre for walking, pony trekking at foot of Monadhliath Mountains and head of Spey Valley. Clan Macpherson Museum displays historical relics including 15th-century bagpipes. Path to Loch Dubh by 3087ft Carn Ban.
Pass of Killiecrankie
River Carry gorge where English were defeated by Jacobites under Bonnie Dundee in 1689. Visitor centre explains battle's history. Soldiers Leap is where English soldier sprang 18ft across ravine to escape his pursuers.
Summer festival at hillside theatre above River Tummel. Highland games take place each September. Scotland's smallest distillery lies north-east of town. Viewing chamber allows public to watch salmon struggling upstream at southern end of Loch Faskally.
Viewpoint of Loch Tummel's wooded valley, with Schiehallion's peak in distance. Named after Queen Victoria's 1866 visit. Four way marked paths through woodland; picnic spot with loch views. Steep trail to loch shore.
Old and new woodlands south of Loch Rannoch. To west are Scots pines, remnant of ancient Caledonian Forest. To east are stands of recently planted larch, pine and spruce. Three marked trails from Cane car park.
About 60sq miles of peat bog with pools, lochs and burns. Haven for wetland birds; treacherous for walkers in places. Surrounded by mountains.
Roadside ruins of English barracks built 1718. Built for troops brought in to control Highlanders after 1715 rebellion, Highlanders captured it 1746 and later blew it up to stop English using it again.
Church dating from 16th century contains notable 17th-century wooden ceiling. Its 29 painted panels portray Biblical scenes and coats of arms. Panels separated by paintings of fruit, vases of flowers and birds.
Village has late 15th-century church housing Menzies family memorials and two crosses from 8th-century monastery.
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